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 Signifigance Of Putting it Together

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flyingS



Posts : 51
Join date : 2010-10-02
Location : Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:57 am

Just was thinking about a grazing system I designed for a customer this summer and the results. I will give you an overview of the ranch. Their were 4 herds, 2 of which were owned pairs and 2 were take in cattle. The ranch herds were seperated, ages 2 and 3 ran in one herd the mature cows were all ran together. One set of take in cows were dry re-breeds and one was a mix of pairs mainly heifers. I went to the ranch and evaluated pastures in Oct. The take in cattle were stocked at similar rates and the ranch cattle were stocked similar to each other but at a lower rate than the take in cattle. To get to the point, I observed that grazing management is of no benefit if you can not manage the ranch as a whole. This is not really anything new, except I was suprised at the difference in results. Comparing the 2 ranch herds the heifers out performed the mature cows significantly. They weaned calves that weighed with in a pound of what the cows calves did and they had far more grass left on their rotation. Some will argue that the difference in the grass is the size of the cows, I will remind them that the heifers are still trying to mature and had just as big of calves at their side. The man taking care of the younger cows did a better job in my opinion of managing the whole while the man taking care of the mature cows was forever playing catch up. There wasn't much management put into the take in cattle except for moving them between pastures, which was just a few times throughout the summer. The take in cattle were stalked on 8 acres less than the other 2 herds and still had more grass than the mature ranch cows. Water is obviously the largest factor in management, just because there is other water sources in a pasture doesn't mean that they have enough water if one tank is empty. Secondly, once a set of cows is discontent, if you do not do something to satisfy those cows they will be discontent for the rest of the summer. Sometimes you have to throw convenience out the window and get priorities straight. Doing both is not always easy and may be very time consuming, although if you take time to do things right the first time you do not have to spend the time playing catch up for the rest of the summer. Just some thoughts. Fire away.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:47 pm

Is there a reason the heifers and cows were not run as one herd? Could the take in animals be combined or were there biosecurity issues in combining the herds? I am in a far different enviroment then these cows are but I have had real good luck running one herd with more frequent moves. The combined herd would have higher animal impact and shorter grazing period per paddock similiar what the bison did back in the day. The Labor needed to take care of one combined herd should be less than takeing care of 4 herds.
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Guest
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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:51 pm

Pat, my guess is that water capacity, or availability would be one of the limiting factors, as Flying S made reference to in the post. Without proper water development, one cannot simply make the herds larger.
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EddieM



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Location : South Carolina

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:55 pm

Quote :
Is there a reason the heifers and cows were not run as one herd?

Probably a management decision to let the younger animals develop and grow without being limited by the older animals.

Quote :
...similiar to what the bison did back in the day.


Plains buffalo or eastern woods bison? Why do folks want to manage cows like buffalos? What can't folks manage cows like, ..., well, ... COWS! Pat, you're in the east. So we need to talk about you managing your cows like eastern woods bison. You'll need woods and not pastures. You'll need to hope that lightning strikes and burns some of the woods or you can just start a fire and do it youself. There was no fertilizers, no grass seeds, no meds, no selection of individuals. If they wanted to walk straight up a hill and create a gully, so be it. If they wanted to poop in the river: it's natural. In the winter they will get thin and some will die. So, why do we always want to go back and reinvent the wheel with an application that does not fit our heritage and is not economically doable? I fully understand the efficiency of strip grazing, flash grazing or whatever term you want to use to describe the fact that they ate more and wasted less. But to create something out of nothing with this mob grazing defies gravity and logic. I think it ought to be called Fad Grazing. lol!


Last edited by EddieM on Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:01 pm

My cows eat a fair bit more then first and second calvers, under the same management and water supply over the winter....

Just from observation the cows are experienced and very aggressive eaters...

Twice a day moves same field, same feed same water source the only reason they were separated was due to the fact the cows would not allow the younger stock to eat enough quality to support their needs.

I also found the size of the groups mattered as the larger the group the greater the impetus pirat

Were the group sizes in this example all of similar numbers?
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:47 pm

EddieM wrote:
Quote :
Is there a reason the heifers and cows were not run as one herd?

Probably a management decision to let the younger animals develop and grow without being limited by the older animals.

Quote :
...similiar to what the bison did back in the day.


Plains buffalo or eastern woods bison? Why do folks want to manage cows like buffalos? What can't folks manage cows like, ..., well, ... COWS! Pat, you're in the east. So we need to talk about you managing your cows like eastern woods bison. You'll need woods and not pastures. You'll need to hope that lightning strikes and burns some of the woods or you can just start a fire and do it youself. There was no fertilizers, no grass seeds, no meds, no selection of individuals. If they wanted to walk straight up a hill and create a gully, so be it. If they wanted to poop in the river: it's natural. In the winter they will get thin and some will die. So, why do we always want to go back and reinvent the wheel with an application that does not fit our heritage and is not economically doable? I fully understand the efficiency of strip grazing, flash grazing or whatever term you want to use to describe the fact that they ate more and wasted less. But to create something out of nothing with this mob grazing defies gravity and logic. I think it ought to be called Fad Grazing. lol!

We had no buffalo in my area period and dam few moose or deer until early settlers started clearing fields and cutting timber. I was not refering to manageing the cows I was refering to manageing the forage. If the landscape and forage species develop under flash grazing and long rest periods then it might produce better if managed that way.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:50 pm

Bootheel wrote:
Pat, my guess is that water capacity, or availability would be one of the limiting factors, as Flying S made reference to in the post. Without proper water development, one cannot simply make the herds larger.

I could buy that. I wounder if water development might pay a pretty good divident on that ranch.
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Guest
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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:56 pm

Pat, you sum up my thoughts pretty well, as water development is the first step. Much misunderstanding abounds on the processes of forage management.

Eddie, I do not think there is a "something for nothing" scenario in any grazing system. Much like Registered promotion, there is a bit of hyperbole associated with new concepts of grazing management. That being said, there is nothing new about rest and rotation in forage systems. From my own observations, I think much of what is perceived as nutrient defiency in pastures, in more likely lack of proper rest or recovery periods, tied together with minimal species diversity of forages.

In the past, I used several pure stands of differing forages, ie- pure: bluestem, redtop, swithgrass, orchardgrass\ legume, fescue\legume. Now days, I prefer to see the overall landscape exhibit the same overall percentages, but evenly distributed throughout the system. On that note, it IS occuring through natural means, not mechanical or chemical.

Once upon a time, fuel and fertlizer where relatively cheap compared to labor. I no longer see that in my own accounting ledgers. Couple that with the increase in cost of the iron to burn the fuel, and also apply the fertilizer, and it further compounds the effects. Now, you and I live in a much different world than Flying S does, as his area takes considerable more area to carry a cow for the year. I do find it interesting that in our areas commercial fertilize is the rule, where as in the rangelands of the west, it is the exception. Yet, they manage to get along fairly well, and yes I realize that less rainfall and varying soil types may lead to less loss of nutrients.


Shade or lack there of, leads many of us to say it will not work here. As I was returning home this week, I was amazed at all the cows laying under their shade trees on a 40 degree day. Since those cows needed shade those 2 to 4 months of summer, I can deal with improper nutrient distrubtion, but what about the other 8 to 10 months of the year. These days I prefer to look for ways to make it work, rather than look for ways to make it not. Either way, no skin off my nose, but I like the results here.

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flyingS



Posts : 51
Join date : 2010-10-02
Location : Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:10 pm

There was water there, it is just a matter of putting a pump jack on or dropping a submersible ahead of time instead of after the fact. The herd sizes were different but that should not have any effect as the plan addressed each accordingly. The difference was management. I developed the plan so it was consistent, the forage is the same, one man got things ready for cows ahead of time and one waited until there was a problem. One herd was always satisfied and content and the other was never content. The way cattle are taken care of and handled is just as important as genetics or pasture management, they all have to come together to optimize overall production. Taking the time to do the extra things will always pay if you prevent a problem, if you do not take the time and you get behind it seems like you can never get caught up. Maybe I am off base, but having the tools does not do you any good if you do not utilize them. Bottom line is that the cows pay the bills therefore they have to be a priority. I am not going to lie to anyone, I have been out of water before sometimes due to my own lack of preperation, sometimes doe to uncontrollable circumstances and sometimes just plain old lack of water and capacity. The difference is that I always got it taken care of no matter how long it took or what time it was. I have seen the difference in behavior due to lack of management compared to taking care of things, it is signifigant.
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Hilly



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Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:07 pm

So are you saying poor water management can cost pounds and grass and should have been moved up the priority list in this case?
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flyingS



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Location : Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:48 pm

Water management was probably the biggest factor. Making sure that cattle had fly rubs, salt and mineral etc., were factors as well. I am saying that the psychy of an animal is probably the single most important factor related to performance. If your cows are continually out of water or continually out of grass they never settle down. If they are always un-settled their production is affected, whether it be through pasture utilization or milk production and weight gain on calves. If we take the time to make sure cattle are cared for and handled correctly we can overcome some production issues. As a general statement, most people are always trying to blame problems or short comings on someone or something else instead of looking back and seeing how what they did effected the outcome. Point blank it comes to responsibility and accountability. A hired man can say, My boss didn't give me time to do this or that, if his or her boss does not know that there is a problem then how can they know anything needs fixing. In this case the employees are given quite a little freedom, obviously the one did not take it upon themselves to make sure that the cows were taken care of first.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:56 pm

flyingS wrote:
Water management was probably the biggest factor. Making sure that cattle had fly rubs, salt and mineral etc., were factors as well. I am saying that the psychy of an animal is probably the single most important factor related to performance. If your cows are continually out of water or continually out of grass they never settle down. If they are always un-settled their production is affected, whether it be through pasture utilization or milk production and weight gain on calves. If we take the time to make sure cattle are cared for and handled correctly we can overcome some production issues. As a general statement, most people are always trying to blame problems or short comings on someone or something else instead of looking back and seeing how what they did effected the outcome. Point blank it comes to responsibility and accountability. A hired man can say, My boss didn't give me time to do this or that, if his or her boss does not know that there is a problem then how can they know anything needs fixing. In this case the employees are given quite a little freedom, obviously the one did not take it upon themselves to make sure that the cows were taken care of first.

I found the book, Leadership and Self-deception by the Arbinger Institute, quite useful for that particular type of problem.
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RobertMac



Posts : 624
Join date : 2010-09-28
Location : Mississippi, USA

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:33 am

flyingS, it's obvious to me you understand production agriculture. When there is something that has got to be done, you do what it takes to get it done, no matter how long or what it takes to get it done. There's no later, no 'it's night', no tomorrow, no weekend, no holiday, no 'someplace to go', no date...and thank God for an understanding wife or husband. Nature works on its own clock and that is your clock. If someone doesn't have this attitude, they should rethink their profession or hire someone that does have it.

flyingS wrote:
The way cattle are taken care of and handled is just as important as genetics or pasture management, they all have to come together to optimize overall production.
Genetics matter little until you have genetics that match your environment.
Pasture management must be in tune with Nature.
Reproductive cycle must be in tune with pasture management.
After you bring it all together, then you will know your 'type' to optimize overall production. That's when we can worry about linebreeding, inbreeding, developing seedstock that will replicate themselves and be of value to producers IN THE SAME ENVIRONMENT.
I don't understand why some are dumbfounded when some great AI sire can't replicate himself in a herd that has a completely different environment.

Sorry if I was too outspoken with my opinion...not really, but it seems like the chic thing to say.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:36 pm

The use of cattle to modify the enviroment is often over look. The amount of time and stock density and time of year cattle are allowed to graze a pasture will affect its productivity and species composition of the pasture. The eastern pastures are more forgiving of poor management then the more arid west due to more water and forage species with quicker recovery times.

Water management is the key to making any managed grazing program work.
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:27 am

Quote :
Eddie, I do not think there is a "something for nothing" scenario in any grazing system. Much like Registered promotion, there is a bit of hyperbole associated with new concepts of grazing management. That being said, there is nothing new about rest and rotation in forage systems. From my own observations, I think much of what is perceived as nutrient defiency in pastures, in more likely lack of proper rest or recovery periods, tied together with minimal species diversity of forages.

Then you have missed out on the latest, most proclaimed, touring, writing, speaking, paid well MO mob grazing fad and fadder. Turn huge groups of cattle of all ages into over mature stands of "stuff", hope that they trample down more than they eat, forget shade, bla, bla, bla and everything is better, including gains, health, pasutres, etc. Pure perpetual motion machine discussion. Some of the discussions of species and soil fertility divide into eco systems that would revert back to woods or grasses if left unmanaged. I think that the "woods type" soils require more fertility managment, especially if they have been damaged by past use. Just an opinion based on this issue. Left alone with decreasing pH, the first change includes broom sedge. Grazing quality is good for about 2 weeks in the spring. Otherwise, it used to be used to make brooms. It does not die from trampling.

Quote :
I don't understand why some are dumbfounded when some great AI sire can't replicate himself in a herd that has a completely different environment.

After watching the game for years, I think most would be dumb-founded if some stable, predictable great did appear from the constant rotation of genetics searching for correction and more. That is why they never stop looking for something better that is different.

Quote :
So are you saying poor water management can cost pounds and grass and should have been moved up the priority list in this case?

The most fundamental need. You can use water as a grazing tool to move cattle, define where they graze the most, etc. We put in some basic water systems years ago and the average WW jumped up 35 pounds and stayed there. Extra weight is water or more complete expression of potential? Don't know but it sells by the pound.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:56 am

Eddie

I sure don't have all the answers maybe more questions than answers. I do know that forage management and water are key to getting more out of your cattle and land. Rest period between grazings have a beneficial effect on forage production and type. In the spring grass flush here we need to move the herd everyday to keep the cows from eating regrowth. The more mature forage has a tendency to stay in the animals more than the 6 inch lush growth that is high in water.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:20 am

EddieM wrote:

Hilly wrote:
So are you saying poor water management can cost pounds and grass and should have been moved up the priority list in this case?

The most fundamental need. You can use water as a grazing tool to move cattle, define where they graze the most, etc. We put in some basic water systems years ago and the average WW jumped up 35 pounds and stayed there. Extra weight is water or more complete expression of potential? Don't know but it sells by the pound.

I agree, water quality and availability are of high importance, I was more trying to figure out what direction this tread is suppose to be headed...
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:01 pm

EddieM wrote:
Quote :
Eddie, I do not think there is a "something for nothing" scenario in any grazing system. Much like Registered promotion, there is a bit of hyperbole associated with new concepts of grazing management. That being said, there is nothing new about rest and rotation in forage systems. From my own observations, I think much of what is perceived as nutrient defiency in pastures, in more likely lack of proper rest or recovery periods, tied together with minimal species diversity of forages.

Then you have missed out on the latest, most proclaimed, touring, writing, speaking, paid well MO mob grazing fad and fadder. Turn huge groups of cattle of all ages into over mature stands of "stuff", hope that they trample down more than they eat, forget shade, bla, bla, bla and everything is better, including gains, health, pasutres, etc. Pure perpetual motion machine discussion. Some of the discussions of species and soil fertility divide into eco systems that would revert back to woods or grasses if left unmanaged. I think that the "woods type" soils require more fertility managment, especially if they have been damaged by past use. Just an opinion based on this issue. Left alone with decreasing pH, the first change includes broom sedge. Grazing quality is good for about 2 weeks in the spring. Otherwise, it used to be used to make brooms. It does not die from trampling.

Quote :
I don't understand why some are dumbfounded when some great AI sire can't replicate himself in a herd that has a completely different environment.

.


I have met the man you refer to Eddie, in my case, I saw the results of his methods on one of his student's places. I think there may be a misconception on ''maturity" or over mature forage. Yes, he is adament on grazing fully recovered forage, this does not mean dead, fully mature, but simply it is not going to grow anymore. Much like managing quality and quantity in a hay crop, and yes at some point during the year, certain species will be over mature, which goes hand in hand with matching the production cycle of the cow with the production cycle of the land.

Most of the exageration I have seen comes in the publications, those always trying to SELL something, I would not call Mr. Judy much of the salesman type, granted his speaking engagements have surely helped his balance sheetl Wink

I am no expert, on much of anything.......but an old farmer told me here one time: The Lord made this ol' Earth to last a long time. His point was if you do a good job of nutrient management, be it added fertility, or keeping what you have, it was not going to wear out. The grazing methods discussed have mainly come to fruition due to the technology, cheap temporary fence, to make it economically feasible.

Sagegrass, broomsedge, whatever you want to call it, use to be a problem here, locusts still are.....the broomsedge used to be fixed by lime, I have not seen a need for lime in quite some time on my owned ground. I am experimenting on some rented land, to see if management, other than commercial lime and fertlize will help the situation.

Matching the cow to the environment, is constantly brought up here, which brings to mind some so-called improved forages, and their match to the environment we put them in. When nitrogen prices hit $1 a unit, it made me really not like my bermuda fields, being no longer cost effective, my natives out produced it considerably, without the artificial environment to support it.

Flying S, sorry for the distraction for your topic.......and if you ever run out of work in the Sandhills, these ol' clayhills could sure use a fellow like you. Cool
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:07 pm

Quote :
I have met the man you refer to Eddie, in my case, I saw the results of his methods on one of his student's places. I think there may be a misconception on ''maturity" or over mature forage. Yes, he is adament on grazing fully recovered forage, this does not mean dead, fully mature, but simply it is not going to grow anymore. Much like managing quality and quantity in a hay crop, and yes at some point during the year, certain species will be over mature, which goes hand in hand with matching the production cycle of the cow with the production cycle of the land.

Most of the exageration I have seen comes in the publications, those always trying to SELL something, I would not call Mr. Judy much of the salesman type, granted his speaking engagements have surely helped his balance sheetl

I am no expert, on much of anything.......but an old farmer told me here one time: The Lord made this ol' Earth to last a long time. His point was if you do a good job of nutrient management, be it added fertility, or keeping what you have, it was not going to wear out. The grazing methods discussed have mainly come to fruition due to the technology, cheap temporary fence, to make it economically feasible.

Sagegrass, broomsedge, whatever you want to call it, use to be a problem here, locusts still are.....the broomsedge used to be fixed by lime, I have not seen a need for lime in quite some time on my owned ground. I am experimenting on some rented land, to see if management, other than commercial lime and fertlize will help the situation.

Matching the cow to the environment, is constantly brought up here, which brings to mind some so-called improved forages, and their match to the environment we put them in. When nitrogen prices hit $1 a unit, it made me really not like my bermuda fields, being no longer cost effective, my natives out produced it considerably, without the artificial environment to support it.

Joe, I have no problem with somebody trying to tell the grazing story vs. big corporations, commercial fertilizer makers and high input methods. But if you look at the last few decades, the spokepersons become the focus and the basic functions are always presented to be as bullet proof as John Wayne. The details get skewed in order to keep the sales and the books and the speaking engagements scheduled. Any author has the right to tell the publication(s) that they either print it right or that is the last article. The articles keep on comin' so it must suit the author, as a mature human being to make other choices. The business begins to feed on the system. The person grows to become more important than the system.

So, if I match cows to the natural environment, and my soils and region are a forest based ecosystem from the "natural side", then I need to range Pineywoods or try to recreate some Eastern Woods Bison from DNA. That IS the environment to revert back to if nature takes it's course. Do I want to try to buy thousands of acres to woods range Pineywoods and bison; I do not think so. Maybe I ought to just grow trees and travel! Shocked

So, we can examine names of people: Judy, Salatin, Gentry, Nation, Gerrish, Pharo. You might want to add a few or delete some. It is not a big deal to me . Not a lot to be gained with such a list except to see some modified their practices, businesses, locations or whatever to survive, economically, and some did not realize the fight would be long and hard so they took up other methods and twists to keep or grow economic returns above the red of loss or whatever else was their clean, green starting point to compact big, normal evil.

People have been dealing with and studing soils, soil fertility, crops, crop stage, digestability and animal response, total maximum yields, etc. To either restate the old as new or to make up anything new that is unprovable seems pointless to me and misleads the unknowing. To know what has been done only takes some time, an internet study or a trip to a library or a used book store.

So let's take a quick example of a abandoned crop field turned pasture. There is a bit of soil fertility left from the efforts to grow row crops, I'm guessing. But the maximum production ability of the soil is just that. The mob of cows come by and there are mostly weeds. The stated desire is to trample down most of the vegetation, from what I have read. So, most trampled and little consumed. That is "little consumed" from the total potential yield. Then the next year, so I read, quality vegetation begins to magically appear and increases in the coming years. Around here, for the last 50 years or so, we had to buy and plant some seeds to get a decent start on a pasture, so I do not quite buy this theory. Then the yields increase with no inputs (why did anyone ever be so dumb to study soil fertility?) and the animals do great on forage that will be less digestable (why did anyone ever look at animal nutrition, those dunces?) And then all age groups, so I read, graze together and all do well. The big ones let the little ones eat enough to do great, the water is shared by all animals without any bossing, the smaller animals are not butted under the poiywire by the bigger animals (like our's do) and none of these domestic livestock need much shade. (Why did educated bozo's ever study about management of livestock?) And then in the end, a great deal of money was made, the big evil corporations were proven to be evil and they all lived happily ever after. cheers

If all of this is true, where are all of the farmers who have made comfortable livings by not doing anything modern? Why are folks still trying to read and learn how to increase profits? What has REALLY been gained by the efforts, including my useless typing? Sleep "You can fool some of the people some of the time ..." The bottom line for me is that the resources and proper management of them control the total outputs and potentials and not the individuals who write about them for profit. Mankind has been given the charge to subdue the earth and not to roll with the punches. And for me, it needs to be profitable by producing a useful product(s) and not just a 501C3 effort.
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shilow angus



Posts : 75
Join date : 2010-09-24

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:00 pm

EddieM wrote:
Quote :
I have met the man you refer to Eddie, in my case, I saw the results of his methods on one of his student's places. I think there may be a misconception on ''maturity" or over mature forage. Yes, he is adament on grazing fully recovered forage, this does not mean dead, fully mature, but simply it is not going to grow anymore. Much like managing quality and quantity in a hay crop, and yes at some point during the year, certain species will be over mature, which goes hand in hand with matching the production cycle of the cow with the production cycle of the land.

Most of the exageration I have seen comes in the publications, those always trying to SELL something, I would not call Mr. Judy much of the salesman type, granted his speaking engagements have surely helped his balance sheetl

I am no expert, on much of anything.......but an old farmer told me here one time: The Lord made this ol' Earth to last a long time. His point was if you do a good job of nutrient management, be it added fertility, or keeping what you have, it was not going to wear out. The grazing methods discussed have mainly come to fruition due to the technology, cheap temporary fence, to make it economically feasible.

Sagegrass, broomsedge, whatever you want to call it, use to be a problem here, locusts still are.....the broomsedge used to be fixed by lime, I have not seen a need for lime in quite some time on my owned ground. I am experimenting on some rented land, to see if management, other than commercial lime and fertlize will help the situation.

Matching the cow to the environment, is constantly brought up here, which brings to mind some so-called improved forages, and their match to the environment we put them in. When nitrogen prices hit $1 a unit, it made me really not like my bermuda fields, being no longer cost effective, my natives out produced it considerably, without the artificial environment to support it.

Joe, I have no problem with somebody trying to tell the grazing story vs. big corporations, commercial fertilizer makers and high input methods. But if you look at the last few decades, the spokepersons become the focus and the basic functions are always presented to be as bullet proof as John Wayne. The details get skewed in order to keep the sales and the books and the speaking engagements scheduled. Any author has the right to tell the publication(s) that they either print it right or that is the last article. The articles keep on comin' so it must suit the author, as a mature human being to make other choices. The business begins to feed on the system. The person grows to become more important than the system.

So, if I match cows to the natural environment, and my soils and region are a forest based ecosystem from the "natural side", then I need to range Pineywoods or try to recreate some Eastern Woods Bison from DNA. That IS the environment to revert back to if nature takes it's course. Do I want to try to buy thousands of acres to woods range Pineywoods and bison; I do not think so. Maybe I ought to just grow trees and travel! Shocked

So, we can examine names of people: Judy, Salatin, Gentry, Nation, Gerrish, Pharo. You might want to add a few or delete some. It is not a big deal to me . Not a lot to be gained with such a list except to see some modified their practices, businesses, locations or whatever to survive, economically, and some did not realize the fight would be long and hard so they took up other methods and twists to keep or grow economic returns above the red of loss or whatever else was their clean, green starting point to compact big, normal evil.

People have been dealing with and studing soils, soil fertility, crops, crop stage, digestability and animal response, total maximum yields, etc. To either restate the old as new or to make up anything new that is unprovable seems pointless to me and misleads the unknowing. To know what has been done only takes some time, an internet study or a trip to a library or a used book store.

So let's take a quick example of a abandoned crop field turned pasture. There is a bit of soil fertility left from the efforts to grow row crops, I'm guessing. But the maximum production ability of the soil is just that. The mob of cows come by and there are mostly weeds. The stated desire is to trample down most of the vegetation, from what I have read. So, most trampled and little consumed. That is "little consumed" from the total potential yield. Then the next year, so I read, quality vegetation begins to magically appear and increases in the coming years. Around here, for the last 50 years or so, we had to buy and plant some seeds to get a decent start on a pasture, so I do not quite buy this theory. Then the yields increase with no inputs (why did anyone ever be so dumb to study soil fertility?) and the animals do great on forage that will be less digestable (why did anyone ever look at animal nutrition, those dunces?) And then all age groups, so I read, graze together and all do well. The big ones let the little ones eat enough to do great, the water is shared by all animals without any bossing, the smaller animals are not butted under the poiywire by the bigger animals (like our's do) and none of these domestic livestock need much shade. (Why did educated bozo's ever study about management of livestock?) And then in the end, a great deal of money was made, the big evil corporations were proven to be evil and they all lived happily ever after. cheers

If all of this is true, where are all of the farmers who have made comfortable livings by not doing anything modern? Why are folks still trying to read and learn how to increase profits? What has REALLY been gained by the efforts, including my useless typing? Sleep "You can fool some of the people some of the time ..." The bottom line for me is that the resources and proper management of them control the total outputs and potentials and not the individuals who write about them for profit. Mankind has been given the charge to subdue the earth and not to roll with the punches. And for me, it needs to be profitable by producing a useful product(s) and not just a 501C3 effort.


cheers
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MVCatt



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:04 pm

EddieM wrote:

So let's take a quick example of a abandoned crop field turned pasture. There is a bit of soil fertility left from the efforts to grow row crops, I'm guessing. But the maximum production ability of the soil is just that. The mob of cows come by and there are mostly weeds. The stated desire is to trample down most of the vegetation, from what I have read. So, most trampled and little consumed. That is "little consumed" from the total potential yield. Then the next year, so I read, quality vegetation begins to magically appear and increases in the coming years. Around here, for the last 50 years or so, we had to buy and plant some seeds to get a decent start on a pasture, so I do not quite buy this theory. Then the yields increase with no inputs (why did anyone ever be so dumb to study soil fertility?) and the animals do great on forage that will be less digestable (why did anyone ever look at animal nutrition, those dunces?) And then all age groups, so I read, graze together and all do well. The big ones let the little ones eat enough to do great, the water is shared by all animals without any bossing, the smaller animals are not butted under the poiywire by the bigger animals (like our's do) and none of these domestic livestock need much shade. (Why did educated bozo's ever study about management of livestock?) And then in the end, a great deal of money was made, the big evil corporations were proven to be evil and they all lived happily ever after. cheers

If all of this is true, where are all of the farmers who have made comfortable livings by not doing anything modern? Why are folks still trying to read and learn how to increase profits? What has REALLY been gained by the efforts, including my useless typing? Sleep "You can fool some of the people some of the time ..." The bottom line for me is that the resources and proper management of them control the total outputs and potentials and not the individuals who write about them for profit. Mankind has been given the charge to subdue the earth and not to roll with the punches. And for me, it needs to be profitable by producing a useful product(s) and not just a 501C3 effort.

Some great points here Eddie, quite a few of these same thoughts have crossed my mind about this whole mob grazing deal. I'm not saying Judy is a Con artist (I have one of his books). Maybe it's the way the material is presented, just seems to be a lot of magic in this low input system.
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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:32 pm

I hope your having a good Thanksgiving, Eddie, and I am glad I gave you something cuss and discuss. I still think the misconception or lack of emphasis is on the management side of the system. All I really have is my own experiences, as a baseline. Maybe you are doing the best that can be done, I was not, and am not, but I am improving.

I absolutely do not think the old feral breeds are the answer, as they were developed with NO Management. We do not live in a virgin world, untouched nor unaltered by the hand of man, and allowing the world to go back to nature, would still be different than it was.
I do not know your ecosystem, but around here, there where areas of natural prairie, and the plow, guided by the hand of man, turned some of those into brush and woodlands. So, what is natural, I do not know. I am more concerned about preserving a profitable land base for my own use, and those that follow.

The $100 dollar an acre, Nitrogen recommendations, for the Bermuda, took nearly all profit potential from the crop, and without it, it does not produce much here, the natives, big blue, switchgrass, and non-native Caucasian bluestem, faired far better, in a not so nitrogen rich environment. I am sure that most legumes are improved somewhat, but are easily self replicating, with proper management.

Neil Dennis, a holistic, or mob grazer, has done far more “real” research, than I ever will. His findings where %60 usage, or eaten, balanced current animal needs, with optimum re-growth of forages, any more taken and future production was reduced. Some years, in poor growing seasons, he took more, in good years, less, to balance cash flow needs. He is a humble, imperfect, individual, that realizes, we live in an imperfect world. The enthusiasm those like him, possess, is rare, and yes he gets paid for speaking engagements, but in my several hour long dinner conversation with him, he did not ask for any monetary compensation for bestowing his failings, or successes upon me.

I have always had reservations of leaving too much behind, but bare ground is a piss poor sponge, and the only dirt my cows like to eat comes in the form of minerals, so I am learning to leave more behind.

Is fertilize and lime evil, no, I think not, but are they ALWAYS the best, or most profitable solution, maybe, maybe not. If you need it, add it, but if I do, I want to do my best to keep it, and not have to do it every year. But even better, will it make me a profitable return? Most questions you ask, or your statements, are things I have battled myself over. The results here in a fairly short amount of time are enough, for me, to know it would be painful to go back, to the tried and true high input, little profit methods here of the past.

Life is Good
Happy Thanksgiving
Bootheel
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EddieM



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:36 am

Quote :
I hope your having a good Thanksgiving, Eddie, and I am glad I gave you something cuss and discuss.

Joe, we are discussing. No need to cuss as there are plenty of words in the dictionary and phrases in the language to say the same thing to the general population without harm or offence. I do not come to this subject with any other interest than the truth.

Quote :
I still think the misconception or lack of emphasis is on the management side of the system. All I really have is my own experiences, as a baseline. Maybe you are doing the best that can be done, I was not, and am not, but I am improving.

We can back this discussion up centuries, and find some of the same trys and failures. Thomas Jefferson, a man of many talents, practiced and learned great deals of agricultural and natural systems. The banks and those he owed, due to his past service and recoginitions, waited until his death to foreclose on his estate. His much learning and desire to do better came with a price. Louis Bromfield went to Ohio as a noted author and world traveler to establish Malabar Farms. He, too, recreated improved farmland from wasteland and in the vein of the discussion of publiciy and publications, wrote and sold books. He or his estate lost the property in spite of the restorations. In our area and from general discussions, folks have tried to return to the land after reading Mother Earth News and it either took a log to fall on them as they built their cabin with a cheap rope, a tax sale on the courthouse steps, a desire to return to a level of living above poverty or a health need that required money (and not homegrown organic tomatoes) to understand why society as a whole does not return to a simpler standard. In recent years, the shining star was Poliface Farms. I have seen a number of folks try to mimic the success story with a totally different result. Some things just happen to a person one time and it will not happen for others. Locations, timing, finances and so much more define success. Can I ramble or what. So, I discuss the whole, the general and some details. Nothing interesting, just a mind searching for answers.

Quote :
I absolutely do not think the old feral breeds are the answer, as they were developed with NO Management. We do not live in a virgin world, untouched nor unaltered by the hand of man, and allowing the world to go back to nature, would still be different than it was.
I do not know your ecosystem, but around here, there where areas of natural prairie, and the plow, guided by the hand of man, turned some of those into brush and woodlands. So, what is natural, I do not know. I am more concerned about preserving a profitable land base for my own use, and those that follow.

Amen, and totally agreed. Even if you or I select a feral breed, we immediatly change it by our selection for a calf a year, more weight, uniformity, etc. There is a section of SC that was original prarie but it has a different clay type as the base soil component. Oddly enough, a great deal of that region is now in planted pine plantations!

Quote :
The $100 dollar an acre, Nitrogen recommendations, for the Bermuda, took nearly all profit potential from the crop, and without it, it does not produce much here, the natives, big blue, switchgrass, and non-native Caucasian bluestem, faired far better, in a not so nitrogen rich environment. I am sure that most legumes are improved somewhat, but are easily self replicating, with proper management.

This is the struggle in managed pastures or what I perceive does not affect some of the prarie regions that are grazed but are not fertilized. Fertility becomes a major cost. Oddly, we plant improved clovers in our area and year after year the hairy vetch, hop clover and bur clover (medic) come back and act as natives. I have begun to wonder why I am silly enough to not just plant and manage what comes the easiest.


Quote :
Neil Dennis, a holistic, or mob grazer, has done far more “real” research, than I ever will. His findings where %60 usage, or eaten, balanced current animal needs, with optimum re-growth of forages, any more taken and future production was reduced. Some years, in poor growing seasons, he took more, in good years, less, to balance cash flow needs. He is a humble, imperfect, individual, that realizes, we live in an imperfect world. The enthusiasm those like him, possess, is rare, and yes he gets paid for speaking engagements, but in my several hour long dinner conversation with him, he did not ask for any monetary compensation for bestowing his failings, or successes upon me.

We have strip grazed for 20 years or so on stockpiled fescue and rotationally graze during the other seasons for as long, with improvement added as we learned. 60% utilization is about as good as you can do with a two or 3 day rotation. Daily rotation (new strip) will increase the utilization % to 70% (guess) but I can attest that last year it also added to the destruction of a section of pasture that we grazed during a wet spell: one long mud puddle then and little fescue now. Rotation systems are flexable and should be if the manager is a real manager. Neil sounds like a good guy to me.

Quote :
I have always had reservations of leaving too much behind, but bare ground is a piss poor sponge, and the only dirt my cows like to eat comes in the form of minerals, so I am learning to leave more behind.

Again, agreed. There is a difference to understand about climates and soils. I'll cover the "average" in the next bunch of words. Soil cover is key, the plants ability to recover is key but the differences in regions to be able to store organic matter in the soil is extreme. Know what the average %OM was in the original soil and you'll do good to make it any better. Just an opinion and observation, especially after extended droughts.

Quote :
Is fertilize and lime evil, no, I think not, but are they ALWAYS the best, or most profitable solution, maybe, maybe not. If you need it, add it, but if I do, I want to do my best to keep it, and not have to do it every year. But even better, will it make me a profitable return? Most questions you ask, or your statements, are things I have battled myself over. The results here in a fairly short amount of time are enough, for me, to know it would be painful to go back, to the tried and true high input, little profit methods here of the past.

Joe, you and I battle the same enemies or foes: time, money, inputs, returns and natural occurances. I totally agree on managing soil fertility. Some of Larry's basic genetic discussion points are that there is an average in a population and the population will generally revert back to average. Soil fertility is the same. The soil has a natural fertility level and a natural pH. Do what you will and it will head back to the average. It should be a continuous effort to manage, like you say, rather than hit it often with a bigger hammer. An interesting point of natural vs. unnatural comes up here for me. Commercial N is seen as all bad and nitrogen produced by legumes is seen as pure, unharming and all natural. When the legume dies and the nodule decays, nitrogen is released for other plants to utilize or to be lost. The action of N release by the natural means still produces an acidic reaction just like the commercial sources of N. Maybe not as much, say as a sulfur based N, but acidic none the less. The soil will head back to average, regardless of the sources.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:51 pm

EddieM wrote:

............ Then the next year, so I read, quality vegetation begins to magically appear and increases in the coming years. Around here, for the last 50 years or so, we had to buy and plant some seeds to get a decent start on a pasture, so I do not quite buy this theory.

Not disagreeing with much that you wrote in your post Eddie but I have witnessed "succession" at work on my own place. I bought a very run down, nutrient depleted place and have tried to improve it using grazing management involving electric fencing, water pipelines but mainly management. I have never "mob grazed" per se but move cattle on an almost daily basis at a lesser stock density than mob grazing implies. One area had a very weak stand of timothy on it when I bought it - it had been hayed for years with no nutrients returned to the soil so the stubble stalks of the grass were fine like pins and far apart. After a couple of years grazing we started to see quack grass take over from the timothy, this quickly grew to an almost monoculture of quack grass before it finally seemed to lose the battle with mother nature and accept that more diversity was needed. We now have a more mixed stand with dandelions, quack and a surprising amount of orchard grass!. Orchard grass is a tough grass to establish here but it looks like there was a seed bank of it in the soil likely from way back when the hay crop was seeded and it only took a change in management to bring it out. In my eyes this is almost a magic - don't underestimate what mother nature can do.
Another quarter had been fresh seeded to hay - timothy and red clover the year before I bought it. The clover quickly died out under grazing pressure and timothy was a woeful producer. Lo and behold as that stand weakened under my grazing regime we started to get volunteer alfalfa spring up across the field. The previous owner had told me this place can't grow alfalfa hence he hadn't seeded any in nearly 20 years. I guess some of those seeds had been sitting their waiting for different management before their potential could be expressed. Still got lots of problems on the place with soils, low production, poor fertility but these examples of succession inspire me to persevere. There is probably an analogy with this and cattle genetics but I can't quite figure it out. I am often tempted to be impatient, break it up and reseed but I'm scared to as modern grass seed (like most modern cattle genetics) has been selected for maximised production under optimal conditions and has limited longevity. It is a quick way to tie yourself to the ag supply companies - machinery, diesel, fertiliser and seeds and I don't want to go there.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:15 am

The miracle regrowth that Judy and others see is the benefit of management and time. Judy stated that his rest periods may be up to 6 months long and Salatin was grazing mature forage thus both are out of the usniversity's 6 to 8 high forage graze hieght. If proper rest periods are provided between grazings for your area then you should see a increase in forage production over continous grazing. Rest periods and short/flash grazing may encourage more desirable species to come in. The extra forage and diversity is the reward for your management.
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